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ON THE WINNING POEMS BY DIAMOND FORDE

Kei Miller, Judge

Impressive here is the way these poems first lean into and then away from creation mythologies. They choose to dig their own ground, in the process inventing new mythologies, sometimes with startling new images: a woman walks through a field with her hair cascading into a basket. Yet, for all their magic, these mythologies ring uncomfortably true. The poems wonder on how women’s lives are created—a woman’s pain, a woman’s loneliness, but also a woman’s resolve and also woman song. Impressive as well is what happens formally—the biblical layout reminding us that poems are “verses” and, at their best, are holy. A lot happens throughout the poems—a lot of movement and a lot of magic, but nothing is ever overkneaded. Like the buttermilk biscuits that Alice prepares, the poems rise with a sense of air.

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